St. Croix Hurricane Relief Flights

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Ted DuPuis, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Cloud Nine will be doing two hurricane relief flights from St. Croix this weekend. I'll be flying south on Friday, north (and back south again) on Saturday, then north and home Sunday. If we get too tired on Sunday (thinking especially if there are bad headwinds heading home) we'll just stop someplace for the night.

    This flight has some long legs, so fuel planning and contingencies are important. The 414 has 203 gallons usable divided up into 6 tanks (two mains @ 50 gallons each, two auxes at 31.5 gallons each, two nacelles at 20 gallons each). The nacelles have transfer pumps to pump fuel into the mains. The auxes can only be used by their on-side engine (so in event of an engine failure you don't have access to any fuel in the aux on the dead side). Fuel return from either mains, auxes, or opposite side main (your 3 options per engine) returns to the on-side main. Needless to say, there's some planning involved and contingencies figured out given the over-water nature.

    First leg is 1050 nm from MKC to FXE. Then it's just under 1,000 nm from FXE to TISX (St. Croix). Conservatively at 50 GPH first hour (the climb to FL190 is painful on the wallet) and 30 GPH thereafter, it's 6 hours of endurance. Reality is first hour is more like 45 and cruise is about 27 GPH combined, or at least it has been. So we have plenty of fuel diversion options and won't hesitate to use them.

    It should be an interesting and fun flight. The basic path (not including fuel stops between St. Croix and Florida):

    https://skyvector.com/?ll=28.964894...1251662&chart=301&zoom=13&fpl= KMKC KFXE TISX

    For anyone interested in watching the flight track of 30+ hours on the hobbs over 3 days, my FlightAware link is:

    http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N620CA

    with live updates on Cloud Nine’s Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/cloudninerescueflights/

    Travel starts Friday morning, get home Sunday night. Unless we're just too tired on Sunday in which case we'll stop for the night somewhere (Florida sounds nice) and get home Monday.
     
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  2. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Will be thinking of you Ted, safe travels!
     
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  3. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's going to be one hellacious journey. You need to write that up for a magazine or something. I know a writer...
     
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  4. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    If a magazine wants it, I'll be glad to write an article.
     
  5. JB1842

    JB1842 En-Route

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    Good luck. My rescue dog from St. Croix is almost 11 years old now.
     
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  6. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Checking on that now.
     
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  7. catmandu

    catmandu Line Up and Wait

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  8. JB1842

    JB1842 En-Route

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    You need to have someone bring you some chicken and johnny cakes from La Reine Chicken Shack. It's only a few minutes from the airport.
     
  9. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    That was a lot of flying...

    Incredible trip. Need to write more down later.
     
  10. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I fired up MKC on LiveATC while tracking your final leg last night, but I missed the calls. I even went outside to try to listen, just in case, but you didn't get close enough to hear.
     
  11. Twin_Flyer

    Twin_Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    :needpics:
     
  12. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I will post some. Unfortunately I didn't get a lot of great pictures and a lot of them require descriptions to understand what you're looking at.
     
  13. Twin_Flyer

    Twin_Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    I just want to live the trip vicariously through your camera's eye. Glad you had a safe trip and thanks for all you are doing for our four-legged friends...
     
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  14. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    It was safe although not without its exciting moments. "Don't try this at home, kids..." ;)

    Updating avionics is on the list...
     
  15. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Good luck!
     
  16. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Made it home last night. ;)
     
  17. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Let’s see some pics
     
  18. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Some photos with descriptions...

    IMG_1799.JPG

    Aguadilla, PR, where we stopped for fuel between Florida and St. Croix. The hangar in the background is very large and looked to be a well-built steel building. I have no idea what hit it to cause that destruction.

    IMG_1814.JPG

    The temporary shelter set up in St. Croix.

    IMG_1818.JPG

    Getting ready to fly out of St. Croix, day 1.

    IMG_1824.JPG

    Flying north, day 1.

    IMG_1840.JPG

    St. Croix and Puerto Rico are the land of rainbows. We saw them everywhere we flew. It was quite beautiful.

    IMG_1843.JPG

    From FL180 (I think, might've been FL190) between Puerto Rico and Florida.

    IMG_1844.JPG IMG_1846.JPG

    More in-flight shots.

    IMG_1847.JPG IMG_1848.JPG

    DONE!
     
  19. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I meant to ask:

    How much of this flight could have been done with your previous airplane?
     
  20. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Looks like I'm going back next week for more! Working out logistics and details...

    Somehow I missed this question a few weeks back. Sorry, Matt.

    To answer your question, this trip would have been much harder to do with the 310. For one, we already needed two trips to get the animals across the pond that were on the manifest. With the 310, it would've taken 3 trips easily, might have needed a 4th trip.

    In addition to that, the 310 had 140 gallons usable compared to the 203 of the 414. Because of this, 700 nm or so was about the maximum no-wind range you could be comfortable with. In roughly 1,000 hours in that bird, I don't think I ever flew longer than a 750 nm non-stop leg, and keep in mind all of my trips were long. With the 414, 1,000 nm is actually doable no-wind. It's ~850 nm between Florida and Aguadilla, PR, which makes this trip easy enough for the 414. With the 310, I would've had to stop for fuel each way in Turks & Caicos, which would've been doable but then added customs both directions just for a fuel stop.

    Lastly, the altitude is nice. At FL180-190 I was in radio and radar contact for virtually the entire flight. That wouldn't have been the case at lower altitudes. Sure, you can relay transmission through other aircraft (I've done that crossing the Gulf in the Aztec between Louisiana and Cozumel), but it's nice to avoid that if you can. At FL180-190 we were also able to more easily avoid weather visually.

    Would I have done the trip with the 310? Yes. But it actually would have cost more due to the extra trips required, and it would've been sub-optimal.
     
  21. Dav8or

    Dav8or En-Route

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    Thank you indeed! USVI and Puerto Rico are being royally screwed by our terrible federal government. It makes me sick. All these people living on the islands are US citizens, just like those in Texas and Florida, yet because they don't get to vote in federal elections and their numbers are small, they just don't matter to the cold, calculating travesty that is our federal government.

    St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island all certainly need the help now. Thanks Ted for doing what you can!
     
  22. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks. I'm your basic "fly around the patch" guy, so mission planning and aircraft selection for meeting that mission is very simple - rent whatever has gas and good tires. The planning of not only the trip, but the capabilities of the aircraft for that mission are something most of us don't have to deal with at the level you do.

    edit: Oh, yeah, have a good time on your next trip!
     
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  23. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    The more complex trips you do definitely make aircraft selection harder without a doubt, and the equation isn't always completely obvious. When you go bigger and gain capability you also give up some other capability. For example, the 414 has worse OEI performance and short field performance than the 310... by a lot. My trip to Belize going into a 1900x25 strip 5 years ago I wouldn't do in the 414. However the 414 flies higher in general and has a longer range than the 310. If it loses an engine from FL190, you've got a long ways you can go even if you're drifting down.

    The same happens when you go to turboprops or jets. Turboprops are optimized for flying at higher altitudes and the fuel burns down low are atrocious. So sure, you go faster, but your fuel burns get very high down low. This time of year that can really hurt with headwinds if you're going the wrong direction. Meanwhile, the 414 can fly at 2500 MSL on the same fuel burn as FL190, and let you stay below the headwinds.

    This is why it pays for people upgrading to a true go-places machine to get advice from someone who understands the pros and cons of the different types to help them make the selection. I frequently see people make decisions that aren't actually optimized for their missions. They tend to be unhappy with the results, or sell the planes shortly after purchase.
     
  24. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Meanwhile, I'll keep pedaling the 150.
     
  25. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I would not do that trip in a 150. Actually I'm not even sure if you COULD do that trip in the 150 range wise.

    Back about 9 years ago (when I was still a new pilot - been flying 15 months and had a bit under 200 hours with my private and instrument checkrides under my belt) a friend of mine started med school at St. George's in Grenada. I was flying a Mooney M20F in those days, and we'd talked about having an adventure flying him down there to start school. I'd never done an international flight before at that point. I forget what I had considered to be the right number of stops at that point, but looking at it today and thinking about the Mooney I think I would pick Turks & Caicos, St. Croix, and then on to Grenada, probably going a bit of the long way between St. Croix and Grenada to stay closer to land rather than going straight across.

    The trip never happened. I forget the exact reasons why. I think the amount it would cost was one thing and or some reason I thought that I shouldn't take that much time off.

    How silly of me to let foolish things like that get in the way of what would've been an awesome trip that I'd still be talking about today (and for many years to come). But I'm glad that I've done the St. Croix flights with more coming.
     
  26. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You could do that in a 150, sort of. You'd get to log one water landing (record the Hobbs quickly)...and that's about it.
     
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  27. muddy00

    muddy00 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You need a co-pilot? Looks like an amazing trip
     
  28. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Looks like everything's set up for the trip on Thursday. Going to wake up early and fly to St. Croix on Thursday. Friday and Saturday will be round trips from St. Croix to Florida and back, and then Sunday St. Croix to Florida and back home. My co-pilot and I have our drinks and snacks packed. It'll be a good trip!
     
  29. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Make sure to bring those little paper umbrellas for your drinks.
     
  30. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Now that would be a funny picture. Red Bull (for my co-pilot) and Starbucks doubleshot (for me) with a paper umbrella in it.
     
  31. ja_user

    ja_user Cleared for Takeoff

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    I like where you are going with this.
     
  32. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is that Ted or Jimmy Buffet?
     
  33. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    It would be nice if Jimmy would've lent use of his Falcon 900.
     
  34. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Next time I see him I'll ask about that.
     
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  35. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Actually a friend of mine is lending use of his Cheyenne, which I'm excited about. I haven't gotten to fly in a Cheyenne since living in PA, and always loved the things. Going 40 kts faster will make this trip a lot more tolerable - 40+ hours in 4 days in the 414 was making me tired just thinking about it.
     
  36. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nice upgrade!
     
  37. ja_user

    ja_user Cleared for Takeoff

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    Glad the Cheyenne is available for you. That'll speed up those long legs.
     
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  38. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Better check the overnight rental minimums. They might want you to rack up about 2-3 hrs per day.
     
  39. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    That might be tough for me...
     
  40. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Made it back! About 40 hours on the hobbs in 4 days. A very fun trip, but I'm glad to be done and back home. My bed felt very good last night.
     
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